Medical Suffixes for Signs & Symptoms

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  • 0:01 Suffixes
  • 0:34 Suffixes Indicating Signs
  • 2:32 Suffixes Indicating Symptoms
  • 3:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

This lesson covers the suffixes that are used in medical terminology to describe the signs and symptoms that are seen in the body when a disease or condition is present. We will go over examples of each suffix.

Suffixes

The suffix of a medical term can be found at the end of the term. The suffix serves the purpose of explaining what the subject is doing, having done to it or what someone is doing in relation to the subject of the medical term. Suffixes are often looked at as the active part of the medical term.

Suffixes can be categorized based on the type of suffix they are. The different categories include signs and symptoms, nouns, diseases, conditions and procedures. We are going to focus on the signs and symptoms suffixes in this lesson. So, let's get started!

Suffixes Indicating Signs

There are suffixes that are used to describe the signs of a disease or condition. Signs are the indications of a disease that can be seen and/or measured. The suffix '-rrhea' is used to describe a sign of a condition or disease. This suffix means 'flow' or 'discharge.' More than likely you are very familiar with one term that describes something flowing a little too quickly. The term 'diarrhea' means 'flowing through' in regards to digested food flowing through the digestive system and then being discharged from the bowel.

The suffixes '-rrhage' and '-rrhagia' both mean 'bursting forth' and are used interchangeably. Most commonly these suffixes are used with the combining form 'hemo' to give 'hemorrhage' and 'hemorrhagia,' meaning 'bursting forth of blood.'

The suffix '-itis' is very commonly used in medical terminology and means 'inflammation.' Almost everyone knows someone that has had appendicitis since this is such a common medical condition. This term means 'inflammation of the appendix.'

A suffix that indicates a sign that can be measured is '-penia.' '-Penia' means 'deficiency.' When a person has a weakened immune system, it could be due to 'leukopenia,' which is a 'decrease in white blood cells.'

The suffix '-lysis' means 'destruction, separation, or breakdown.' One sign that can appear in the blood is 'hemolysis.' This term means 'destruction or breakdown of the red blood cells.'

If you watch sports, then you may have seen an athlete having a muscle spasm. The suffix meaning 'spasm' is '-spasm'. Isn't it nice when a suffix is that easy? The term 'myospasm' is the full term meaning 'muscle spasm.'

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